India is a land replete with myriad customs, rituals, anniversaries, folklores, and festivals. Nowhere in the world does one have so many avenues to celebrate, learn and follow as India. Much before the advent of modern media and a vast array of sources of entertainment, it is festivals that used to be agents of fun, frolic and learning for generations past. However, in the same vein, modern children too can take a cue and leverage festivals to enhance the learning curve of their life.
The daily grind of modern lives and lifestyles means very little to no time to spend with loved ones. Festivals make kids familiar with, spark togetherness and bring them closer to our friends and relatives, helping build stronger bonds amid festive zeal. This coincides with the tiny tots learning how to extend greetings, express happiness, and what warmth is in relationships.
Major festivals like Dussehra, Diwali, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi or Christmas serve as days with a rich backstory. Their knowing makes children enhance their cultural know-how, traditional rooting, awareness about social customs, knowledge about epics, mythology, inspirational figures, the content behind spiritual reverence and religious tenets.
While the world has become one big country in the wake of omnipresent western trends and globalisation, festivals take the children back to their earthy identity. This is most true for wardrobe. During festivals, children wear traditional clothes that reflect the vibrant past, allowing them to live the golden Indianness prevalent in yesteryears.
Decorations and festival arts offer children avenues for expressing their creativity, augmenting their visualisation kills through intricate art forms, motifs, designs, rangolis, floral deck ups, traditional aromas, and more. Children learn to create these themselves through observation and practice.
Today, kids sample foreign fast food for a change of taste from a staple diet. Food is a key ingredient enriching festivals. And festivals acquaint children with new cuisines, new recipes, new preparations, new plates and palates. This way, they broaden their understanding of traditional recipes and occasion-centric foods. Children cutting across distinct religious hues, when they celebrate festivals of other faiths, get to respect secularity, broaden knowledge about other faiths and learn to live homogeneously as a unified bunch.
(The author is a founder of Dudes & Dolls World, Adhyay School, and Ritesh Rawal Foundation)